Fair Weather Friends

Proverbs 19:4 Wealth brings many friends, but the poor are left friendless.

They say that money talks. Sure it does! Wealthy people never seem to be short of friends. People buzz around those in positions of power and privilege like bees around honey.

And yet the poor, the people who don’t look beautiful, the people who don’t fit the mould, who can’t do much for others, who don’t have power or position or wealth – so often they seem to be friendless.

Wealth brings many friends, but the poor are left friendless. (Proverbs 19:4)

That’s a pretty damming scripture, isn’t it? But if you happen to be someone who goes to church – have a look around next Sunday. There’s inevitably the beautiful set – the ones who can afford to dress well on a Sunday morning … the people other people catch up with for a coffee after the service.

And then there are the fringe dwellers. The people who no one really wants to have coffee with very much.

I went through a time in my life when I went from being somebody – with a career, with perceived success, a big house, an expensive car – to being a nobody. Everything was stripped away for a time. As it says in that Psalm, I went from being wealthy to being poor. And during that difficult and painful time, two fascinating things happened.

Firstly, many of the people who had been my friends while I was wealthy and successful, at least I’d thought of them as friends, just disappeared. One day they were there, the next day they weren’t. Now, whilst that hurt, I guess on reflection I wasn’t surprised.

But the thing that really surprised me, is that some other people came out of the woodwork, people who I knew but didn’t think of as friends, and they were the ones who stood by me. They were the ones who comforted me. They were the ones who gave me somewhere to live when I had nowhere to live.

Each of those people had two things in common. Firstly, I hadn’t been particularly nice to them during the good days, in fact, far from it. And secondly, each one of them was a Christian. They didn’t know each other, but across the country, it was the Christians in my life who stepped forward to love me in my poverty and my loss.

Wealth brings many friends, but the poor are left friendless. (Proverbs 19:4)

It is a damming Scripture. And every time I read it, I hear God saying something very clear to me. Don’t be like that. Don’t be a fair weather friend. Be a real one.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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